Tanzania’s plan to draft in small-scale entrepreneurs, and produce at least 700,000 tonnes of sugar annually by 2025 is ambitious, to say the least.
However, this does not in any way mean that the plan is impossible to execute or ill-advised.
According to Industry and Trade minister Kitila Mkumbo, the government intends to engage small-scale processors who will complement large-scale manufacturers in order to attain this noble goal.
Another key player in the strategy is the Tanzania Engineering and Manufacturing Design Organisation (Temdo), which is currently designing and manufacturing sugarcane processing mini-plants, which are pivotal to the success of the plan.
Temdo director general Frederick Kahimba said the mini-plants would cost about Sh250 million each. While this may seem a bit on the high side, it is still about half the price of an imported machine.
Mr Kahimba revealed that the first units would be ready by June 2022, and added that each plant would be able to process ten tonnes of sugarcane to produce a tonne of sugar daily.
This is good news to Tanzanians, who have had to contend with recurring sugar shortages and price spikes in recent years.
It means is that once production reaches 700,000 tonnes annually, the country would no longer need to import sugar.
In fact, if things go according to plan, Tanzania would have excess sugar, prices would fall, and the country could start to export the commodity.
However, this calls for all key players, including financial institutions, to play their part to make the plan a success.
It would help a lot if banks and other financial institutions came up with arrangements that would enable entrepreneurs to acquire sugarcane processing plants and pay back their loans without any hindrance.
Tanzanians need not need suffer frequently as a result of sugar shortages. That is why the government’s latest plan could not have come at a better time.
SHUN THIS DESTRUCTIVE HABIT
Using bushfires to clear land for farming is common in some parts of the country, but most disturbing, given the alarming rate of deforestation.
A survey by the Washington-based Conservation International, indicates that 2,300 square kilometres of land is destroyed yearly. At that rate, Tanzania’s entire forest cover could disappear in less than 20 decades.
This situation calls for measures to check backward land use practices entailing the lighting of bushfires.
Wanton tree cutting has been doing enough damage to forestland. Now, an increase in bushfires by cultivators, livestock keepers eyeing grass for their animals and hunters, will result in worse destruction since it kills essential microorganisms in its wake.
We have all the necessary environment protection laws, but these are not good enough, for they are most difficult to implement.
What we need are more campaigns aimed at educating the people on the adverse effects of destroying natural vegetation, a practice that is, by extension, equivalent to destroying ourselves.